A Fun, Fresh Fall to All!

Newsletter 32 – Thursday, September 24, 2015


Cottage Grove

Mon-Fri 9-6
Sat and Sun 9-5


Mon-Fri 8:30-5:30
Sat 8:30-5:00
Sun 9-4

Pumpkins and Gourds

No fall harvest scene is complete without pumpkins and gourds! We have pie pumpkins, carving pumpkins, mini pumpkins, and gourds in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and textures. Orange, green, white, tall, squatty, or even warty; we have all sorts of combinations. Come on out and pick up your festive pumpkins and gourds!

How do you mend a jack-o-lantern?
With a pumpkin patch

40% Off Perennials, Trees, and Shrubs

This week all perennials, trees, and shrubs are now 40% off! This is part of our progressive sale, in which the percentage off increases by 10% each week. Take advantage of this sale now for more selection and to allow plants more time to become established before winter.

This offer excludes mums and asters and is not valid on previous purchases or custom orders. There is no warranty on these plants purchased through the remainder of the season.

How do you catch a squirrel?
Climb into a tree and act like a nut

America’s Best Flowers Fundraising Program

Did you know that America’s Best Flowers has a fundraising program for non-profit organizations?  It is such an easy, straight forward and profitable fundraiser, that many non-profit organizations participate year after year.

Most fundraisers sell products that people don’t really want or need, and in order to realize a profit, the cost of the item is usually inflated. This one is different! Gardening is the #1 leisure activity in America.

You receive 25% of the value of every gift card you sell. Our fundraiser runs October 1st-April 1st.  During this time, we give you the opportunity to sell our gift cards, and you receive 25% of the value of every gift card you sell!!! While springtime is certainly “the biggie”, with gardening and landscaping needs, the fall/holiday fundraiser offers some unique opportunities, and there is a lot of profit to be made October-December.

The mums, asters and fall foliage are perfect for decorating hearth and home. Our Autumn Market offers pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, fall bulbs, bales of straw, cornstalks and Halloween décor. After Thanksgiving, we offer Christmas trees, wreaths, roping and poinsettias in many varieties. Since many people buy all or most of these items. why not sell them an ABF gift card and make 25% for your school or participating school organization? You’ll be offering something people want and need, while we give you the opportunity to benefit from these sales. It’s a win-win situation!

You promote the sales. We offer the gift cards in any denomination of $10 or more. Imagine the profit! For example, if 100 families purchase $100 in gift cards, your sales total would be $10,000, giving you a profit of $2500. Your sales will increase every year.

It’s easy to do and has no volunteer burnout!  Simply announce the upcoming fundraiser several weeks in advance of the sale.  Mail or send home a letter and order form with your students, and have them available at school concerts, plays, sporting events, and in your school office. You sell the certificates and collect the money.  Checks are made payable to your organization.  Bring us the paperwork and we’ll make out the certificates with the name of the recipient and in chosen amounts. Most orders are for multiple cards, as they make GREAT gifts for holidays and birthdays etc..  You pick them up a week later and pay us 75% of the total sales amount. Bulk orders are also available.  What could be easier? I will be happy to meet with you, and help organize your sale. Most organizations sell them for a month or two in spring and again before Christmas.  Our program is only available October – April 1st.

America’s Best Flowers gift certificates never expire, and can be used year round at both our main site in Cottage Grove and our Edgerton location.

If you are interested or have questions regarding our easy and profitable program, please contact Shirley at abfscimino@yahoo.com or call the greenhouse at 608-222-2269.

What do you get when you cross a sheltie and a cantaloupe?
A melon collie

Bringing Houseplants and Tropicals Indoors: Prepare and Acclimate

This is the second part of a two part article, click here for part 1.

After you have finished dealing with potential insect problems, the next step is to freshen up and prepare your houseplants before you bring them in for the winter. Prune plants if they’re looking a bit leggy or scraggly. You can trim back what you think needs it, but don’t take off any more than one third of the plant.

If plants have outgrown their pot and are root-bound, you can repot them into a slightly larger container, though spring is really the ideal time, before the majority of new growth. If you decide they really need repotting, be sure the container is no more than two inches bigger in diameter so they can adequately absorb all of the water from the soil, thus avoiding root rot.

The difference in humidity and light between outdoor and indoor climates can sometimes shock plants, causing their foliage to turn yellow and drop, therefore, it’s good to gradually acclimate them to indoor conditions. This is done by bringing them indoors at night, when outside temps are below 50°, and bringing them back out in the morning. Do it every night for a few days, and then gradually increase their time indoors over the course of two weeks until they are indoors full time.

Remember that plants need less water when indoors since they are growing less. It’s good to clean the windows to maximum the sunlight that reaches the plant so they can continue to stay healthy and thrive.

A man walked into a bar and sat down, ordered a beer. As he sipped the beer, he heard a soothing voice say, “Nice tie!” Looking around he noticed that the bar was empty except for himself and the bartender. A few sips later the voice said, “Beautiful shirt.” At this, the man called the bartender over. “Hey, I must be losing my mind,” he told the bartender. “I keep hearing these voices saying nice things, and there’s not a soul in here but us.”

“It’s the peanuts,” answered the bartender. “They’re complimentary.”

Vote for us in Best of Madison!

We’ve been nominated for a chance to be the Best of Madison!

This annual poll conducted by Madison Magazine allows voters to choose their favorites in a variety of categories. Last year, we got 2nd place in the Lawn, Garden, and Landscape category and we hope to get your vote this year as the best garden center around.

We strive to live up to our name, so if you like (or love!) what we do, please vote for us! You can vote once a day every day through October 17, so please vote often! Click here to vote!

Ask Irene: Spike Plant

Q: I noticed this a.m. that my spike plant is kind of soft and brown and a bit rotten starting from the center, the outside leaves appear to be fine. It is outside in a partial shade spot.

A: It’s not great news for the spike. The only growth tip on that plant is in the center, so when that is injured, no new leaves can be made. It looks a bit like sunburn to me, and then you mention soft rot, but regardless of the nature of the injury, the outcome is the same. Even bending the growth tip prevents future growth. The outer leaves can continue for a long time, but I would not expect to see it grow again. The oldest leaves will eventually dry out around the bottom, until some day no leaves remain.

Rot in the center is concerning, however. Spikes — this one looks like a cordyline — are tropical plants in the dracaena family that prefer being kept somewhat potbound and allowed to dry down a bit between waterings — say two inches down the pot, even more when kept as a houseplant in the wintertime. Underwatering would not likely kill it, but overwatering could. Does the pot have drainage holes? Do you water from overhead, allowing water to collect in the plant’s crown? Water the potting mix and avoid overhead watering. I would trim off the brown leaves and rot, disinfecting your pruners afterwards with rubbing alcohol or a dilute bleach solution as a precaution against transferring a potential fungal problem to something else. Enjoy the plant, knowing you may not have it forever. It looks like a nice specimen!

Good luck,


We want you to be successful in your gardening efforts. Please send any questions you have to Irene, at abfirene@gmail.com. She’ll give you solid advice from years of gardening experience.

Speeding Ticket

“What am I supposed to do with this?” grumbled a motorist as the policeman handed him a speeding ticket.

“Keep it,” the cop said, “when you collect four of them you get a bicycle.”

Indoor Flea Market Vendor Info

Our final flea market for the season is October 17 9-3, and this time, it’s indoors! Protected from wind and cold, you’ll be able to turn your garage and basement clutter into cold hard cash! Flea markets are fun and easy to participate in! Just bring your treasures out to the greenhouse, display them like you would for a garage sale, sit back and sell.  That’s all it takes! If interested, please click here for more information.

Feedback on our New Website

Our new website is almost done! We would still like your feedback as we continue to tweak it, so please let us know the good and the bad, by emailing Ed at ed@americasbestflowers.com. Please specify in your email if you are viewing it on a computer or smartphone. Thanks!

Upcoming Events

Sat, Sep 19 – Sun, Oct 18
Scarecrow Days

Mon-Fri 10am-4pm
Sat-Sun 10am-4pm
Bring family and friends out to build one-of-a-kind scarecrow(s).

Sat, Oct 17
Flea Market

9am-3pm – Rain or Shine

Sat, Oct 17 – Sun, Nov 15
Miniature Garden Container Workshop

10am-3pm Every Weekend – FREE soil and assistance. Create a beautiful miniature garden in our greenhouse. Customers may bring in their own EMPTY containers, but all accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers.

Sat, Nov 21 – Sun, Nov 22
Holiday Porch Pot Workshop

9am-3pm Create a festive porch pot for the holiday season. Customers may bring in their own EMPTY containers, but all accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers. Pre-Registration Appreciated.

Sat, Dec 5
Wreath Workshop

9am-3pm Design and create a holiday wreath that will cheerfully welcome all holiday guests. All accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers. Pre-Registration Appreciated.

Sun, Dec 6
Holiday Centerpiece Workshop

9am-3pm Add that finishing touch to your holiday table with a festive holiday centerpiece! All accessories must be purchased from America’s Best Flowers. Pre-Registration Appreciated.

Memory Problems

A few old couples used to get together to talk about life and to have a good time. One day one of the men, Harry, started talking about this fantastic restaurant he went to the other night with his wife.

“Really?” one of the men said, “What’s it called?”

After thinking for a few seconds Harry said, “What are those good smelling flowers called again?” “Do you mean a rose?” The first man questioned. “Yes that’s it,” he exclaimed.

Looking over at his wife he said, “Rose what’s that restaurant we went to the other night?”

Our Kitchen

Recipes can come from the oddest places.  I confess to being a Columbo junkie.  I’ve seen most of his shows several times, but still enjoy watching the reruns.  I often pick up on things I missed the first time(s).  A couple of weeks ago there was this one about a French chef and the murder of – oh, I don’t want to tell you too much here in case you haven’t seen it.  The way this ties to a recipe is that Columbo had heard the chef being interviewed on a radio show about a sauce and it took half way through the show for Columbo to remember that it was onion sauce – the French chef corrected him to Sauce Soubise.  I googled ‘onion sauce’ – because I didn’t know how to spell Soubise and, after a bit of looking around, found the following recipe.

I used it as the base for the creamy element in a carrot casserole that I will share the recipe for next week.  The sauce is so good I ‘tasted’ at least 2 or 3 tablespoons, just to be sure it was right.  It could be used to give a homemade taste whenever a recipe calls for a cream of whatever soup, or as a substitute for any white sauce.  It would also be good as a flavorful gravy for chicken or pork.  Hope you enjoy.

Onion Sauce (Sauce Soubise)

Onion Sauce (Sauce Soubise)

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 4 T butter, 2 for cooking onions, 2 for roux
  • 2 T flour
  • ½ t salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 3 T heavy cream

Cook onions in 2 T butter until very soft, about 12 minutes. Do Not brown.

Melt remaining butter in heavy 3 qt saucepan over low heat.  Add flour, salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes.  Gradually whisk in milk.  Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes just to a boil, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in cream and cooked onions.

Carol and Ed Knapton, owners of Americas's Best Flowers
You’ll Love Your Garden … It’s Our Promise!
May the Holy Spirit Guide You! God Bless
Edward Knapton says Keep on Smiling!
Sec – Treasurer Berry Hill Farms, Inc.
DBA Americas Best Flowers Garden Center
4311 Vilas Hope Road
Cottage Grove, WI 53527
608-222-2269 Fax 608-222-1234 Cell 608-698-5627